Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Adequate product roundup

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I realize that most of the time I post about things either because I really love them or because I really hate them. It's just easier and more fun to write about something if I have strong feelings about it or if it's particularly intriguing in some way.

But I have a bunch of shit lying around that I thought at one point I would review here and just never got around to. Not because it's bad, but just because it's not exciting. I think, however, that pointing out that something isn't exciting can be useful, even if it doesn't make for the most enthralling blog post (or one filled with a lot of expletives). So I decided to make a single post with brief reviews of bunch of things that fit into the category of "adequate", rather than writing eight separate "meh" posts. They are not bad, but they are not wonderful. They are perfectly functional, and I don't feel like I have wasted money on them, but I wouldn't necessarily buy them again. They do their job, but they don't fill me with joy. They're adequate.

I can see two main responses to reading this: (1) you were excited about something, and you subsequently become less excited about it; or (2) you were excited about something, and you subsequently remain excited and are satisfied that it's not utter shit. No wait, the third possible response is that you didn't care before and you still don't care. Okay, a fourth possible response is that you are enraged that I am dismissing one of the BEST PRODUCTS YOU HAVE EVER USED. Be aware that there are few things on my list that many people out there seem to looooooooove, so if you're curious, you might as well give them a shot, knowing that they are not going to turn out to be garbage. You might turn out to be one of their fans.

Not Your Mother's Knotty to Nice Conditioning Detangler

This stuff is fine, but not exciting - which has been my experience with every product I've used from the NYM brand. It's a leave-in spray conditioner that does make wet hair somewhat easier to comb out. It smells okay, but not too strong. Sort of like fruity candy. I don't find that it has much effect on the appearance or condition of my hair. I can spray it very generously, and my hair doesn't get stringy looking.

Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon Moisture Rich Lip Care

Normally I'm not a big fan of these Nivea/Labello lip balms, so I'm not sure why I bought this one. This version does seem to be a little more effective than most, though. Less waxy and more moisturizing. The scent is pleasant: slightly citrusy, not too sour, like Sprite or 7Up. It has a faint perfumey taste, but it's not obnoxious. It has very little sheen. Good enough, but I wouldn't buy it again when there are a million other lip balms out there to try.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

I know that people swear by this one, and it does have a good ingredients list. There are some things I really like about it and other things I find disappointing. For example, I absolutely love the way it feels when you apply it. It's like a refreshing drink of water for your skin. It soaks in very quickly and doesn't leave a greasy feeling. On the other hand, I don't find that the moisture it provides lasts very long. On dry days this winter (i.e. all of them), my skin feels parched again a few hours later, which doesn't happen so much with lotions that are less pleasant immediately. Maybe this would be best layered under something heavier, though that would mean more greasiness.

Smith's Rosebud Salve

Another popular one. Personally, I don't love it. I've tried it a bunch of different ways. On my cuticles, it's too greasy during the day, and it doesn't seem to have much effect when applied before bed and left overnight. I don't like it on my lips. I actually find it a little drying in the long run, and the floral scent means it doesn't taste very good. I have found a very specific use for it though. I tend to have dry, flaky skin on my nose. If I put some of this stuff around my nostrils before I go to sleep, it definitely cuts down on the dryness by morning. Plus it means I have a pleasant rosy scent to fall asleep to. $6 is kind of a lot of money for dedicated nostril balm, though. I don't advise buying it at Sephora, since you can get it cheaper elsewhere (like drugstore.com, link above).

Suave Moroccan Infusion Shine Conditioner

I had high hopes for this one after reading many, many positive reviews. My opinion is that it's a decent conditioner, but nothing special. It doesn't make my hair any shinier or smoother than other decent conditioners do. It may be that it works better for people with hair types that are different from mine (which is fine, but not thin, and quite straight). I also really don't like the scent, though I think that is one of the major selling points for a lot of people. It's very strong and sweet, slightly spicy. I'm not great at identifying/describing fragrances - sorry. But this is the sort of fragrance you get in a lot of drugstore products (like body wash) that are supposed to be "exotic" or "eastern". Maybe a hint of incense?

Here are swatches of the last three products on my list, the makeup:

Swatches (left to right): L'Oreal 24 Hour Infallible Eyeshadow in Sultry Smoke,  Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Fig Jam, Revlon Photoready Eye Primer + Brightener
Swatches (left to right): L'Oreal 24 Hour Infallible Eyeshadow in Sultry Smoke, Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Fig Jam, Revlon Photoready Eye Primer + Brightener
L'Oreal 24 Hour Infallible Eyeshadow in Sultry Smoke

Matte grey eyeshadow is tricky. It tends to be patchy and dry and not very pigmented. This one is very smooth, but it takes several layers to build up the color to anything other than very sheer. The swatch above is not over primer, which does increase the pigmentation somewhat. Like the other Infallible eyeshadows, it works best when applied with your finger, rather than with a brush. But it's not nearly as impressive as the shimmery Infallible shades, and it's not the answer to all your grey eyeshadow needs. Better than average, but not great.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Fig Jam

I heard that this was a dupe for the beloved Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. I don't think that it really is, especially if "universally flattering" is the main attraction of the Clinique stuff. From photos, this Lip Butter seems to be warmer - it has more of a brick red/brown thing going on. It looks okay on me, but it's not something I find particularly attractive. The formula is just as nice as the other sheer Revlon Lip Butters, though.

Swatch of Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Fig Jam
Swatch of Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Fig Jam
(I guess I did include this Lip Butter in my previous post about them, but it seems worth talking about in more detail for its potential dupe status.)

Revlon Photoready Eye Primer + Brightener

I've had this for ages. I'm not sure why I bought it, either. I guess maybe I was wondering if it was a dupe for YSL Touche Éclat, though I don't have that, so I'm not sure how I would be able to tell. It's the same type of product, though: highlighter in a click pen with a brush. This packaging seriously suffers from the click-click-click-click-nothing, click-click-click-click-SPLOOGE effect. It it definitely not a concealer - it provides almost no coverage. It does seem to reflect the light from undereye circles in a way that makes using it slightly better than using nothing. It is not reflective enough to be used as a highlighter, though, at least on someone pale like me, and I have no idea what sort of priming effects it's supposed to have. It's not very good layered under something else, because it doesn't apply especially evenly. Overall it's just not that impressive. I use it on days when I'm not going to be out and about much, since it camouflages my dark circles a little bit, provided that no one looks too closely at me. I'm basically just trying to use this up at this point.

So there you go. None of this things are disasters, but none of them are revelations either, in my opinion. Feel free to rage at me in the comments about how shockingly wrong I am.


  1. I enjoy the refreshing title of this post more than anything else. You might like the CeraVe moisturizing cream better but I haven't tried the lotion to tell you that it's better. One thing I do is mix a body oil with it and it seems to work better against dryness.

    1. That's a good idea - though I guess that would also negate one of the main benefits, that it soaks in right away and you can go about your business. Can't have everything! My expectations were maybe too high.

  2. I've been thinking about writing a post like this, but because I'm not bursting at the seams with excitement it doesn't happen... haha. I enjoy Smith's Rosebud Salve as a lip balm and for random dry spots on my face. Mostly because it smells nice, because Vaseline also works pretty well for those things.

    1. When I wrote this I was actually thinking about how similar that new Vaseline Rosy lips might be, but since the Rosebud Salve also has cottonseed oil, and the Rosy Lips is all vaseline, I guess there's probably some difference.

  3. I enjoyed reading this, just because I enjoy reading all your posts.


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